The face of Education has changed over the past several decades. Thirty years ago, the Internet was introduced to the world. Today, it would be a challenge to find a school in a developed nation without an Internet connection and some level of dependency on connectivity.
Adults adopted the benefits and opportunities afforded by online learning as the Internet started to spread its reach across the US. Over the past several years, virtual knowledge gained a foothold in the K-12 education space. Still, it took a worldwide pandemic to see technology rise as the core of the Education vertical. Education today relies on technology and specialized services to reach students and provide them with the knowledge and experience needed as they step out of the classroom and into our world economy.
Most educators today agree that digital equity is the most significant challenge in education today. Internet access, hardware, and access to IT and educational services vary greatly between States and cities. Even within school districts, individual schools and students do not share the same access to essential technology and services.
In a March 2021 CoSN EdTech conference session on Driving K-12 Innovation, Frankie Jackson, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Texas K-12 CTO Council, noted, “You may have the Internet and not a device, or you may have a device and not the Internet.” She also pointed out that students need not only the technology but also the necessary training “so that they can interact with robust and accessible content.”
A digital divide exists, but other challenges must also be addressed. With continuous advancements in technologies, schools must ensure that teaching practices and content delivery methods change to keep pace with the latest improvements. The importance of professional development and services increases with every new step technology takes.
The education industry is well known for its ability to innovate. Teachers find ways to use what is available to them to skirt or break down roadblocks in their paths to success. Schools and Districts have creative ways to stretch budgets and extend their reach using innovative, ingenious solutions. They are to be applauded for their vision and insights.
However, this level of innovation does not scale. This limitation was exposed with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. Educators were tasked with a scaling problem beyond the likes of anything they had seen before. Suddenly, one classroom became twenty – practically overnight. The use of technology was the single viable solution to connect students and teachers without leaving their homes.
STEM/STEAM in Action
During the past decade, educators began focusing on STEM skills – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Adding Art to these core skills changed the acronym to STEAM. In hindsight, someone must have had foresight into what was to come.
In today’s environment, students must have the knowledge and skills to effectively solve problems, study and evaluate facts, and understand and use the power of data. Advances in technology have made more data readily available to the masses than ever before, but only those with a STEM education can make use of it.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are evolving as classroom or hybrid-learning tools. Teachers use these technologies to create immersive environments where students learn complex topics or experience distant cultures. Virtual field trips and interactive learning programs using VR & AR technologies work particularly well to engage students within STEM/STEAM curriculums in K-12 and higher education.
Where to Go from Here
Distance Learning was a term rarely used in the K-12 space. Now, it is what education has become. Whether temporary or long-term, distance learning demands a different set of solutions from the physical classroom. From innovative functionality for virtual lesson planning to collaborative tools to keep students connected, Cibergator Technologies can help you customize hybrid learning solutions for your customers.
Many schools are due for a network refresh. Choosing the proper networking, infrastructure, and broadband service solutions will enable administrators to manage IoT devices, including door locks, phones, emergency alert systems, interactive displays, digital signage, and much more.
Audio & Visual (AV) technologies have made significant advances during this past year. From the classroom to the auditorium to the home workspace, ProAV’s ability to inspire communication and collaboration can revolutionize the learning experience for a tech-savvy generation of students. ProAV solutions for K-12 and higher education classrooms can shape the way educators teach, and students learn. Cibergator can help customize a ProAV strategy for any school.
As a solution provider, you have an unprecedented opportunity to help K-12 schools and libraries close the connectivity gap and advance their digital learning initiatives. E-Rate funding fuels educational technology sales, enabling you to deliver tremendous value to school districts as you work with them to design, build, implement, and support 21st-century learning infrastructures.